Monday, June 8, marks National Caribbean-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NCAHAAD), which takes place during Caribbean-American Heritage Month in the United States.
According to the NCAHAAD website, “HIV infection has had a demoralizing impact on the Caribbean Diaspora and the Caribbean-American communities throughout the United States for over 20 years. Surveys of Caribbean-American communities reveal significant health disparities and have identified HIV/AIDS and inadequate access to health care as major health issues in this population.”
The site also notes that data from the past decade reveals that HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among African Americans between the ages of 25 and 44 in the United States. “It is important to note that [although] African Americans are often viewed as one group, there is, in fact, a wide variety,” the website notes. “Included under this heading are upper class, lower class, Christian, Muslim, inner city, suburban, descendants of slaves and recent Caribbean immigrants.… Current epidemiological surveillance does not record these social, cultural, economic, geographic, religious, and political differences that may accurately predict risk.”
Events across the country aim to educate this population about HIV testing and treatment and to promote compassion for those living with the virus.